Alvaro Bautista returns to the scene of his maiden MotoGP podium at San Marino this weekend in a rich vein of form.

Bautista has regularly challenged for a top four finish since Laguna Seca, when his battles for fourth place with Valentino Rossi have become a regular confrontation.

The Gresini Honda rider is competing at his team's home race at the Marco Simoncelli circuit and Bautista hopes to maintain his impressive run of form on the RC213V.

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Bautista, who missed out on fourth place to Rossi by 0.065 seconds at Silverstone, said: "We had another fantastic weekend at Silverstone, working hard with the team on the setting of the bike, which wasn't ideal on Friday.

"We managed to put together an excellent race, not far off the back of the lead group and I really enjoyed myself in another great battle with Valentino, who finally beat me by a matter of a few centimetres.

"Our current run of form is very positive so we have to keep doing the right things and this will keep us moving forwards. Misano holds some good memories for me and it is also my team's home track," he added.

"I have been on the podium there many times, including my first in MotoGP last season after a big battle with a bunch of riders but especially with [Andrea] Dovizioso."

Bautista, though, expects a more difficult task this weekend as he attempts to bridge the gap to the top three of Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo.

"This year it won't be easy because the level in MotoGP has gone up another notch but we will try our best to continue our excellent moment," he said.

"The goal is to close the gap even further to the top three and try to break them if we can. It is not a great track for overtaking and overall it is quite slow, despite a fast section at the end.

"It will be important for us to concentrate hard from the start on finding a set-up with good stability under braking and plenty of acceleration out of the corners," Bautista said.

"This is a more important aspect at Misano than top speed."